Watch out for a unique showcase of the State’s diversity today, to celebrate Rajyotsava

Here’s a new way to celebrate Rajyotsava. Turn on the television. Skip past the predictable functions and speeches. Look out, instead, for a two-minute-long burst of colour and sound, one that is refreshingly free of homosapiens: ‘Jaya He Kannada Thayi’, a music video to be released today, celebrates the biodiversity of Karnataka through shots of creatures endemic to its forests.

The video, produced by music director Ricky Kej and wildlife photographer Amoghavarsha, was shot largely in the Western Ghats, over nearly 18 months. Ricky and Amoghavarsha were introduced through a mutual friend; they soon decided to produce a music video to showcase the diversity of Karnataka’s wildlife.

Ricky laughs that he wasn’t enticed by Amoghavarsha’s enthusiastic love for roughing it out in the forest. Nevertheless, for Ricky, who has scored music for several jingles as well as Kannada films such as Accident, the project was an ideal way to further his interest in non-film songs, such as ones with a patriotic bent. “We’ve seen enough celebrities and film stars in patriotic videos. What more is there to show?” he says.

Plenty, if the video is anything to go by: lively shots of peacocks, owls and langurs are interspersed with frames of rarer creatures, such as the blue-eyed bush frog and freshwater jellyfish. Conspicuous by absence is the tiger: they felt that the creature has received plenty of attention. “Look at Facebook, and it’s save the tiger,” says Amoghavarsha, exasperated. The species focused on in the video are equally important, equally rare, he argues.

What impact might a music video have? Amoghavarsha, who documents wildlife and then uses his work to educate, believes firmly that awareness will lead to a sense of responsibility. “And awareness cannot be niche, it has to be widespread,” he said. So – unlike the National Geographic documentaries that are ordinarily his forte – this project is set to music, to reach more people.

At the moment, the aim is to first create a sense of love and pride, next awareness – and perhaps action. Amoghavarsha offered a quote by conservationist Baba Dioum to illustrate their philosophy: you only conserve what you love. “So we want to make the first connection, to make people love the animals. Without knowledge you can’t just go out to ‘save’,” he said. Refreshingly, Amoghavarsha acknowledges that the conservation issue is about self-interest and self-preservation: “It’s not so much about saving the animal, as preserving the world for yourself.”

The lyrics for the track are written by well-known poet H.S. Venkatesha Murthy. Typically, composers take existing poems and set them to music, but in this instance, the poet penned words specifically for a tune composed by Ricky. “He has a lot to say about Karnataka. So we’re really fortunate we have him on board.” The choice of the ‘anthem’ genre, with soaring vocals from M.D. Pallavi and Vijay Prakash, is to match the magnitude of the ‘patriotic’ feeling, Ricky says.

At just about two minutes, the video is likely to crisply make an impact on viewers; the duration is also kept short for practical considerations, to encourage TV networks to play the video.

The video will air across Kannada television channels today.

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